Using hand gestures to speak or convey is one of the most beautiful features of the Indian classical dance forms. Hand gestures that denote the relationships within the family are known as Baandhava Hasta, as explained in the texts of Bharatnatyam dance form.
- Dampati Hasta: Husband and Wife
“Vaame tu shikharam dhritvaa dakshine mrigasheershakaha
Dhritaha streepunsayorhastaha khyaato bhratkovidaiha”
Left hand in shikhara and right in Mrigasheersha, both in line with the shoulder.
- Matru Hasta: Mother
“Vaame haste ardhachandrashcha sandamsho dakshine kare
Aavartayitvaa jathare vaamahastam tataha param
Striyaaha karo dhrito matrihasta ityuchyate budhaiha”
Right hand in sandamsa near the belly and left hand in Ardhachandra is taken in a circular motion from the belly to the left side, finishing in mrigasheersha.
- Pitru Hasta: Father
“Etasmin matrihaste tu shikhare dakshinen tu
Dhrite sati pitruhasta ityaakhyaato maneeshibhiha”
Starting with Matru hasta and finishing with right hand in shikhara.
- Shvashru Hasta: Mother-in-Law
“Vinyasya kanthe hamsaasyam samdamsham dakshine kare
Udare cha praamrishya vaamahastam tataha param
Streeyaha karo dhritaha shvashru hastastasyaam niyujyate”
Starting with Matru Hasta and finishing with right hand in Hamsasya placed at the throat.
- Shvashura Hasta: Father-in-Law
“Eta syaante hastasya shikharo dakshine yadi
Dhritashcha shvashurasyaayam hasta ityuchyate budhaiha”
Starting with shvashru hasta and finishing with right hand in Shkhara.
- Bhartrubhraata Hasta: Brother-in-Law
“Vaame tu shikharam dhritvaa paarshvayoha kartarimukhaha
Dhrito dakshinahasten bhartribhraatrikaraha smritaha”
Left hand in Shikhara and right hand in Kartarimukha is taken from Shikhara to the side.
- Nanaanha Hasta: Sister-in-Law
“Ante Tvetasya hastasya streehasto dakshine kare
Dhrito nanaandrihastaha syaaditi naatyavidaam matam”
Starting with Bhartrubhraata Hasta and finishing with right hand in Mrigasheersha.
- Jyeshta-Kanishta-Bhraatru Hasta: Elder and Younger Brothers
“Mayura hastaha purataha paarshvabhaage cha darshitaha
Jyeshtha bhraatruha kanishtha syaapyayam hasta iti smritaha”
Mayura Hasta is shown in two levels, i.e., higher to lower shows younger brother and lower to higher shows elder brother.
- Putra Hasta: Son
“Samdamshamudare nyasya bhraamayitvaa tataha param
Dhrito vaamen shikharam putrahastaha prakeertitaha”
Right hand is held near the belly in Samdamsha and left hand from the belly level is moved forward and stopped with Shikhara in front.
- Snusha Hasta: Daughter-in-Law
“Etdante dakshinen streehastashcha dhrito yadi
Snushaahasta iti khyaato bhrataagamkovidaiha”
Starting with Pitru Hasta and finishing with right hand in Mrigasheersha.
- Sapatni Hasta: Wife
“Darshayitvaa paashahastam karaabhyaam streekaraavubhou
Dhritou sapatnihastaha syaaditi bhaavavido viduha”
Pasa is shown and then both hands spread out in Mrigasheersha on either side.